Editor’s note: The following review is part of Macworld’s Summer of Mac Gems series. Each business day until the middle of August 2008, the Macworld staff will use the Mac Gems blog to briefly cover a favorite free or low-cost program. Visit the Mac Gems homepage for a list of past Mac Gems.
Of course, your Mac can talk: Highlight text in TextEdit, for example, select Edit: Speech: Start Speaking, and one of OS X’s built-in system voices will recite your words. But the Mac’s default text-to-speech tools don’t always let you specify which voice will do the reciting or let you assign different voices to different parts of your document. (That’s a problem if you’re writing a play or movie, but also if you want to hear what different people said in a meeting where you were taking notes.)
That’s the problem Dejal’s Narrator 2.0.2 solves. Paste your text into it, assign the program’s “characters” to their lines, and then hear your text come to life. Narrator will use any of OS X’s built-in system voices (including the new, comparatively natural Alex that debuted in OS X 10.5); if those voices aren’t enough, you can download more from Dejal. You can also configure rate, pitch, inflection, and volume for each one.